By Sam Seliger
Pioneering queer country group Lavender Country has announced that their second album, Blackberry Rose, will be released on February 18 on Don Giovanni Records.
The group, led by vocalist and primary songwriter Patrick Haggerty, formed in Seattle in the early 1970s, independently recording and producing a self-titled album, which they sold through queer bookstores and zines in the Pacific Northwest. Though all 1000 copies sold, the group never made another album, and eventually dissolved later in the decade. Haggery continued to perform sporadically through the 2000s, and in 2014, Paradise of Bachelors re-released the record, coinciding with the blossoming of a new, global queer country music scene that recognized Lavender Country as a foundational pioneer.
Haggerty had been working on Blackberry Rose for some time, and ran a GoFundMe to support the album’s creation. He initially distributed it independently in 2019, selling it at his live shows.
Now, 49 years after his group’s debut, Lavender Country is finally getting label distribution.
Blackberry Rose’s lead single, a re-recording of the first album’s classic track “I Can’t Shake the Stranger Out of You,” is out today. In 2020, RuPaul’s Drag Race icon Trixie Mattel covered the song, bringing it long-overdue attention.
Blackberry Rose (and Other Songs & Sorrows) by Lavender Country comes out (pun intended) February 18.
Sam Seliger is a student at Columbia University and the Head of American Music at WKCR-FM NY 89.9.